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October 27, 2011 / Leslie

Review: The Lantern

The Lantern
by Deborah Lawrenson
Read by: Kristine Ryan and Gerianne Raphael

Genre: Gothic Mystery
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publish Date: August 9, 2011
Format: Downloadable Audio | 10 Hours 36 Minutes
Rating: 4 of 5

The Lantern is a modern gothic ghost story set in an old farmhouse in the South of France. The story is told from two points of view: Eve, who currently lives in the house and Bénédicte, the former owner who resided there years ago.

Eve has recently moved into the house with Dom, a man she is madly in love with but whom she knows little about. At first Eve is enchanted by the house and the beautiful grounds but in time she begins to fear the house is haunted and that Dom is keeping horrible secrets from her. In alternating chapters Bénédicte tells her story of living in the house decades ago with her family and the tragedy that surrounded them.

I liked the use of two first person narrators and could feel the story taking place in both the past and the present. Bénédicte’s story in the past was the stronger of the two tales. A gothic just seems to work better in the past. Maybe I watch too much CSI but if I were Eve I’d have done some background checks on Dom rather than just obsessing about what he might be hiding. In Bénédicte’s time when someone went missing they were often missing forever. Her story was more believable. In the end, the two stories began to converge as the mysteries are solved.

This a nicely written, entertaining story but not very ghostly and not too suspenseful. It’s dark and moody and haunting but I did not find it riveting. I listened to the audio and initially had a little difficulty with the French/English accent of the narrator who portrayed Eve. This probably says more about my lack of familiarity with French pronunciation than the narrator, and after a while I didn’t have to skip back and listen to words a second time. The narrator who did Bénédicte also had a French accent but was easier to understand. Despite my initial problems with the accents, I’m glad I listened rather read the book. The descriptive imagery was pleasant to hear but it might have become tiresome to read and then I would have ended up skimming over some beautiful passages.

The Lantern was one of my choices for the R.I.P. Challenge. While this wasn’t a creepy or scary book it was a good choice for the season and a book I would recommend. For more reviews from participants in the RIP Challenge, head over to the RIP Review Site.
Source: Downloadable audio provided by the publisher for review.


Leave a Comment
  1. Suko / Oct 27 2011 5:08 pm

    Terrific review, Leslie! I could see this as a movie, largely due to the setting, a farmhouse in the South of France.


    • Leslie / Oct 27 2011 5:37 pm

      I think a movie, done right, could make this much more suspenseful than the book was.


  2. sagustocox / Oct 27 2011 5:36 pm

    It’s a bummer that this is not more ghostly.


  3. BermudaOnion / Oct 27 2011 6:16 pm

    I have this in print, so the accents won’t be a problem for me. The fact that the book’s set in France appeals to me.


  4. Leeswammes / Oct 28 2011 5:44 am

    It wasn’t terribly thrilling but I enjoyed the story a lot!

    Wait a minute! World book night? I see the button on your blog. Also in the US? How nice!!! (jealous)


    • Leslie / Oct 28 2011 8:38 am

      Yes! It was just announced a few days ago that the US would be joining in. A website and sign up info will be coming soon. (I should do a post on that.)


  5. Diane@BibliophileBytheSea / Oct 28 2011 6:04 am

    Glad you enjoyed this one Leslie, I do want to read or listen to this one. I’ve never been offered an audio download –how cool.

    Possibly a snowy weekend for us –hard to believe. Enjoy the w/end !


    • Leslie / Oct 28 2011 8:57 am

      I hope the snow stays away, it’s way too soon for that.


  6. reviewsbylola / Oct 28 2011 9:29 am

    I read this one for RIP too. I didn’t find it riveting at first, but as the book went on I couldn’t put it down.


    • Leslie / Oct 29 2011 8:58 am

      Yeah, the last two hours listening to the book were the best part.


  7. samstillreading / Oct 29 2011 1:36 am

    I received this on Net Galley but didn’t get to read it in time (silly work intervened). If it’s not that riveting, I might wait for a Kobo sale 🙂


    • Leslie / Oct 29 2011 8:55 am

      I thought the first half was a little slow but it picked up at the end when the two stories converged and the answers were revealed.


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